How Much Will March Madness Cost Corporate America?

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

March Madness is quickly approaching. The college tournament is one of the biggest sporting events to take place during the year. Intense rivalries and bracket challenges can turn even the most casual fan into a face-painting trash-talker, but it can also bring the office to a complete standstill.

With the first round tipping off next week, productivity levels across the nation are set to take a timeout. March Madness is expected to cost American companies at least $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the first week of the NCAA tournament, according to calculations by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gary & Christmas. The figure is based on an estimated 50 million Americans participating in March Madness office pools and online streaming, as well as government statistics indicating that workers earn an average of $24.31 per hour.

“There are distractions every day at the office, but the first week of the annual men’s college basketball tournament is particularly hazardous to workplace productivity. While March Madness distractions may not alter the nation’s quarterly GDP numbers, you can be assured that department managers and network administrators notice the effect on work output and company-wide internet speeds,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

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